Rutabagas thrive in cold climates and do especially well in growing zones lower than 2. In fact, when grown in warm climates that don't experience a cool or cold period in fall and winter, rutabagas do not develop their typical flavor. But, when grown in an appropriately chilly clime, the cold-hardy and drought-tolerant rutabaga grows into a tasty tuber with very little management.
Choose a site. Rutabagas have few requirements, but one of the most important of those few is ample direct sunlight. Rutabagas will only tolerate a minimal amount of shade.
Prepare the seed bed at least six weeks before you plant your rutabagas. Remove any weeds (and their root systems along with them) and spread a 4-inch layer of organic compost. Then, turn the soil to a depth of 1 foot and rake the soil smooth.
Sow rutabaga seeds three months before you expect the first frost (the temperature should be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Plant the seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows that are 18 inches apart.
Thin seedlings when they sprout. Only save the best plants and pull all others so that your plants are growing at least 8 inches apart.